In November 2019 and after 29 years of service, I came out as transgender to my Novartis colleagues. When I did so, I had the full support of my management, human resources and the Pride Switzerland Employee Resource Group. Using our comprehensive transidentity guidelines we easily navigated the complexities of workplace transition together, quickly adopting my new identity, educating colleagues and offering the flexibility of medical leave when required.
Since coming out I’ve been able to thrive as my true-authentic self every day, bringing more energy, passion and joy to my work than ever before. I am fully accepted, and I’ve become visible as a transgender leader committed to ensuring that all Novartis associates have a positive experience of inclusion and belonging.
I joined Novatis in 2015 when being approached for an HR Head role for a manufacturing location in Slovenia. One of my first things to check before saying yes was how will I - (as an out gay man) be supported in a workplace environment that might be even more hostile in a manufacturing plant (my bias). I saw Novartis not only committed to support LGBTQI associates, but also actively promotes ERGs that can offer a place of belonging and active work to spread inclusion into business teams. I've really had only good experience so far and have not only been welcomed but also appreciated for the work I do outside my regular job (in the D&I space).
What I value the most are Novartis's commitment to change the culture to be more unbossed and inclusive, to give associates opportunities to learn and explore areas we want to develop into and offer support, tools and resources to progress in our careers. On top, last few years have been a clear example that flexibility with regards to working schedules and locations (with responsibility) is providing flexibility that is appreciated by all generations.
I joined Novartis in 2018 and was immediately inspired by the culture and the strong emphasis on inclusion and belonging so that everyone could bring their authentic selves to their workplace. The growth and development opportunities have been amazing and I have held several roles, which have also always given me the opportunity to dedicate some of my time to supporting D&I activities and initiatives, particularly in the PRIDE Prague ERG where our goal is to support the LGBTQI+ community and create awareness and understanding through local events and training, both internally and externally.